By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
Local government units (LGUs) across the country have bought ₱1.58 billion worth of farm and fishery products direct from the source since the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported on Thursday.
“We are happy to report that since the start of the enforcement of the ECQ, around 245 LGUs heeded our call to patronize the products of our farmers and fishers and make these part of food packs distributed to their constituents. This number is certainly growing,” DA Secretary William Dar said.
The agri-fishery products include palay, milled rice, corn, vegetables, fruits, pork, chicken, fish, and spices.
“The LGUs are our primary partners in cascading our sectoral interventions on production to consumption, marketing included. We would like to involve them in the entire value chain to make sure that our support mechanisms reach targeted beneficiaries,” Dar said.
The DA has formed four food value chain clusters—Luzon A (Cordillera Administrative Region and Regions 1 to 3), Luzon B (Regions 4A, 4B, and 5), Visayas (Regions 6 to 8, and Mindanao (Regions 9 to 13), to focus and strengthen linkages between food producers and the markets.
“Through the clusters, we plan the availability, pre-positioning, and movement of products from the municipal to provincial level, then regional, and finally among clusters” Dar said.
“The mobility plan looks into the movement of agri-fishery commodities from producers, to traders, processors, and wholesalers/retailers, down to the household consumers,” he added.
The clusters, with the help of LGUs and other agencies, identify prime agri-fishery commodities and potential markets, monitor the markets, and coordinate relevant concerns to develop location-specific resiliency plans aimed at attaining higher levels of food sufficiency.